We can all get a little frustrated when Uncle Sam puts his hand into our pockets. And for many, today can be an especially frustrating day. Whether it’s a new tax law or an adjustment in personal income has occurred, the result is the same…a little more tax is due.
Our frustration comes from the unexpected or unplanned expense and depending upon the amount that is due, our frustration could be small or great. Some of us will simply grumble under our breath while filling out the check while others will choose this as an opportunity to rant about the “over-reach” of the government. But if I can, I would like to encourage us to look at today a little differently.
When asked if we should pay taxes, Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21 NIV) Simply stated, it is our spiritual duty as Christians to faithfully pay our taxes. It recognizes that we live under authority; God’s authority and governmental authority.
Additionally, the Apostle Paul’s writes:
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes, if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:1-7 NIV)
So, what am I suggesting? For a couple of minutes, stop and think about the many ways our tax dollars benefit us and the men and women who are supported by those dollars. Here are just a few that have come to my mind today. We live in a safe community because of the men and women who risk their lives in the military, serve as police officers, firemen and 911 call center operators. While road construction can be exacerbating when trying to get to school, I am reminded that those workers and the teachers who care for our children are also supported by our tax dollars. Not to mention the various governmental agencies that help ensure that our food is properly handled and our water supply is clean.
So, as you stop by the US post office to mail your taxes, take a moment and thank God for the men and women who faithfully serve in our community. Ask for His protection and guidance for them and their families. And when you have the opportunity, say thank you to those who are being paid through our taxes.
Let’s make April 15 a day of thanksgiving instead of a day of frustration.
– Pastor Shan